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Concerns Surround New Prescription Painkiller Zohydro

A new prescription painkiller is causing alot of concern among health care and consumer groups. The drug is called Zohydro and it’s a opioid analgesic that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last fall to treat chronic pain. It will become available to patients this month.

In an article in CNN.com, one addiction expert is quoted as saying, “It’s a whopping dose of hydrocodone packed in an easy-to-crush capsule. It will kill people as soon as it’s released.” Health care and addiction treatment groups are appealing to the FDA to revoke their approval before tragedy strikes.

In late 2013, 29 state attorney generals as well as members of Congress sent letters to the FDA asking them to review their approval of the drug. The feeling is that Zohydro could be the new OxyContin, another prescription painkiller that is often abused because of its high concentration of oxycodone.

The article notes that prescription opioid deaths have more than quadrupled since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1999 there were 4,030 deaths involving opioids; in 2010 that number jumped to 16,651.

Experts claim that Zohydro is almost five times more potent than current painkillers currently on the market. They don’t expect the use of opioids to rise as a result of this new drug. Their fear is that it will add to the broader overdose problem.